Ok, we seriously use this Easy Vegan Cheese Sauce on everything. It’s silky, creamy, high in flavor, but not in calories. You can use this low fat “Cheeze” sauce on macaroni to make a quick Mac & cheese, steamed broccoli, baked potatoes, nachos, quesadillas, etc. The possibilities are endless!
There are A LOT of Vegan Cheese sauce recipes out there on the interweb. I have tried quite a few of them, and have also loved quite a few of them as well. There was always something that wasn’t quite right for me though, so I set out try to create my own recipe using various techniques I had learned from others. I figured out that most vegan cheese sauce recipes call for onion and garlic powder, and I am just not a huge fan of onion powder in my cheese sauce.
I think this method of sautéing the onions and garlic with the spices was the key for me, and it brings out a more mellow, sweeter flavor than if you just used onion and garlic powder. Also, it doesn’t really take any extra time since you can sauté your mixture while your potatoes are steaming and your cashews are soaking. It’s a bit more fuss, but I think it’s worth it, and this sauce will last a 4-5 days no problem in the fridge.
Some tips for delicious vegan cheese sauce:
- This is another recipe that works well in a standard blender, but comes out extra creamy in a high speed blender like a Vitamix. I know, I know, it’s one more thing on your kitchen counter and it’s expensive, but if you can save up, I think it’s worth the investment. I use my Vitamix on almost a daily basis, and it’s still going strong after almost 10 years. If you’re using a standard blender, just make sure you don’t skip the step of soaking the cashews, and you may want to soak even longer than 20 minutes if you have the time.
- I used 1/4 tsp of crushed red pepper here as a good base for spice. I think this is a good amount for people who like a little spice, but don’t want it overly spicy. You can really do whatever you want here though. Completely omit if you want a mild cheese sauce, or bump it up to 1/2 – 1 tsp for a spicier sauce.
- Yukon Golds are the potato of choice here. They are super creamy, and don’t have that “earthy” flavor that you sometimes get with russets. If you use russets or red potatoes, I recommend peeling them before boiling.
How do you I use this Cheese Sauce?
Having this cheese sauce on hand makes easy meals come together in a flash. Just last night, the hubby and I came back late from a socially distanced fire pit and were still hungry. I steamed up some potatoes and broccoli, poured a generous amount over top, and boom- a super satisfying, easy meal.
I put these nachos together in no time by throwing some cut up corn tortillas in my air fryer for a few minutes, and then topping with some leftover beans, salsa, black olives, pickled jalapeños, cilantro, green onion, and of course CHEESE SAUCE! But you can really use whatever you want or whatever is in your fridge.
Some other ideas are making vegan enchiladas, adding a bit to tacos, using as a dip for taco chips or veggies when friends are over, or pouring over baked potatoes. You can even put it on pizza! The possibilities are endless, and have fun experimenting!
Is this Gluten Free?
You can easily make this recipe gluten free by just simply making sure you are using a gluten free Miso paste. A lot of miso paste is made with barley, wheat or rye grains which are not gluten free. However, there are many brands that are gluten free and that are made with brown rice for example as an alternative. Check your labels!
Vegan Cheese Sauce
- 1 small to medium onion sweet onion is preferable
- 4-6 garlic cloves
- 1/2-1 cup vegetable broth or sub for 1 tsp of bouillon powder & 1/2 cup of water
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika use regular paprika if you don't have smoked
- 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper omit if you don't like spice
- 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
- 1/3 cup raw cashews
- 2-3 medium sized Yukon or Russet potatoes about 1 lb.
- 1 tbsp miso paste use a Gluten free miso paste like Chickpea Miso for GF option
- juice of 1/2 a lemon
- 1/2 tsp mushroom powder seasoning I used Trader Joes
- 1/2 tsp salt more or less to taste
- 1/2 cup water possibly more if thinner consitency desired
- Place cashews in a small bowl, and pour boiled water over them unti they are completely submerged. Set aside to soak.
- Steam potatoes on the stovetop in a steaming basket or Instant Pot until fork tender. About 20 minutes, depending on the size of potato (I usually do mine in the Instant Pot for about 18-20 minutes).
- While the potatoes are steaming, roughly chop the onions and garlic.
- Sauté onions in a small to medium pan over medium heat until they begin to release liquid and slightly brown.
- Add garlic and continue to stir for about 1 minute. At this point, you may want to start adding a bit of broth or water if things start to stick.
- Add in turmeric, smoked paprika, crushed red pepper, your bouillon powder or paste (if using in place of broth) and a bit more water. Cook until onions are soft and everything is well incorporated, about 5-7 minutes, continuing to add water or broth as needed.
- Add nutritional yeast to pan and continue to stir, adding more water or broth to make a slightly soupy mixutre.
- Once everything is fully incorporated, turn off heat and set aside.
- To your blender add the steamed potatoes, soaked cashews, the sauteed onion and garlic mixture, miso paste, mushroom seasoning, lemon juice, salt, and an additional 1/2 cup water.
- Blend on high until smooth. At this point, open the blender and check the consitency and taste. If the sauce is too thick, add a bit more water. Add more salt if needed and blend again until everything is mixed well.
- Serve and enjoy over steamed broccoli, nachos, macaroni, potatoes or whatever your heart desires!
A really unique way to make the cheese sauce! Have tried twice now, and noticed the second time was more lemony but I didn’t add more or less. So it’s easily customizable…don’t want the lemon flavor this time? Leave it out! The key is cooking the onions and spices first, really good!
Thanks Andrea! Love that you are customizing it to your own taste- this is great!